Lots of Great Umami Exists with a Kiss at Kissato Sushi

20221116_175220Kissato Sushi
2027 Oak Bay Ave
Victoria, BC

Hours: Tues to Sat, 11:30am to 2:30pm and 5 to 8pm.
Phone: (250) 370-5195

I’m surprised that I never noticed Kissato Sushi before in my sojourns to the municipality of Oak Bay, which is one district over from where I live. The main reason is that there aren’t a lot of areas to park my car. It’s almost a must bus in the zone, given how restrictive the area is for vehicle traffic along the strip.

When I am here, I make the most of my time here. The avenue is even more of a throwback to the yesteryear than any other area, and I’m glad there are no signs of modernisation here, except maybe one operation or two.

The best known operations for eats here include the Ottavio Italian Bakery & Delicatessen and The White Heather Tearoom (review link). For where to buy alcohol, I highly recommend The Cork and Barrel; they are one of the few places that keeps a good stock of Strange Brew’s holiday drinks. Also, the Penny Farthing bar can be hit or miss, but as for buying delicious meats, I heartily believe The Whole Beast is tops. I go there to purchase their maple rosemary bacon. 

With all that said, this district has only three sushi operations still running. Sadly, Osaka Sushi (review link) is permanently closed, and I consider them one of the best. Thankfully, Kissato can fit the bill, even though their selection is not as extensive. That is, sea urchin isn’t available. In what they offer is a terrific catalogue of the staples. The fish was especially fresh since my friend Max and I arrived at the opening, and we had enormous appetites going on. 

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[Port Angeles, WA] When All Residents Need is Songoku Hibachi and Sushi!

20221009_142702Songoku Hibachi and Sushi Japanese
134 W Front St
Port Angeles, WA

Hours: 11:00 am to 9:00 pm (daily)
Phone: (360) 477-4315

In a small town like Port Angeles, the primary industry is fishing and tourism. In October, it’s the 21st Annual Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival. For the adventurous hiker, there’s Hurricane Ridge and the Olympic Mountains, but they are typically closed when the seasons change. Because there’s plenty of rainforests nearby, harvesting mushrooms (as my review from a few weeks ago explored) is no doubt next.

But instead of local delights, I had to see how Japanese food and the Pacific Northwest can be fused up. Fusion food is a big thing and can be a selling point for some operations, and Songoku has crawfish! I don’t think I’ve seen it offered in sushi before! Out of all the places I’ve visited in the past, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it offered in the menu.

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Konnichiwa Nori-San!

20220219_193223Hello Nori
1165 Robson St
Vancouver, BC

Hours: Sun to Sat 11a.m.–11p.m.
Menu: hellonori.com
Phone: (604) 564-9595

Hello Nori is a relatively new operation that opened in Vancouver’s Robson Street strip during the pandemic, and since they’re both dine-in and takeout, the difference is in whether or not the rolls are cut up for you. However, the taste will be slightly different based on how fast you eat them. The selling point is in how crunchy the sheets of seaweed are. I spotted a butane torch in the preparation area and it’s used for their aburi dishes rather than standard rolls. There are also daily sashimi offerings to which I shouldn’t have passed on. After seeing how they looked at a few bar seats away, I knew I’d have regrets. 

However, in the back of my mind, I wondered if the fish were caught Ikejime style or West coast. I suspect it’s the latter (this is BC after all), so what’s offered isn’t necessarily ‘authentic’ Japanese and more designer style to convince patrons in.

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[Vancouver, BC] On Why Kingyo is King!

20220220_194834871 Denman St
Vancouver, BC

Hours: Mon to Sun 12–2:30pm, and 4:30–10pm
Menu: kingyoizakaya.ordereze.net
Phone: (604) 608-1677

On my latest trip to the mainland for Fan Expo Vancouver, I explored the West End and visited Kingyo. Getting here isn’t that bad at night, but I’d still recommend taking a cab or Uber if safety is a concern. The stroll back along Robson Street to your hotel will help burn the calories.

This smaller sized operation is like Maneki Restaurant in Seattle’s International District; the external decor hides a warm and welcoming interior. Their daily specials have a wider variety of seafood and protein offerings than the usual fixings. It’s rare to see any place offer truffle in this style of cuisine. Next time, I’ll be back for their Pork Miso Carbonara–a pasta dish that uses the black fungi as a garnish.

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia, er Chiba! Vying more Sushi back in Victoria, BC

Chiba Sushi
2706 Government St
Victoria, BC

Hours:
Mon.-Tue., Thu. 11:30a.m.–2:30p.m.
and 4:30–9:30p.m. (Sat & Sun only)

Phone: (250) 383-9886

ES: For most of my life when challenging Victoria, BC’s crazy 7 point intersection and figuring out which way am I going, I always see Chiba Sushi. The thought of going into this operation crossed my mind and at least that decision is easier to make. This restaurant is cozy and blends a bit of the traditional–dining in a booth (shoes are taken off before entering)–with the modern. The atmosphere is better than that of  a wayfarer station. This place is almost overlooked because of its location. It’s been around for as long as I can remember. It may be older than me!

DK: I was 19 the last time I went to Chiba Sushi. New to town, and a tad naïve. I brought along a co-worker. I hoped it might be a date. She forgot her wallet. Her boyfriend picked her up. It was not a date. Ed, however, showed up with a cash card in hand and promised me his popcorn refill at a movie later. True love comes to those who wait, or popcorn and a friend at least.

Let’s continue to focus on the positive: Chiba makes a number of unique special rolls that are surprisingly satisfying. We sampled four rolls; the Mango and the Phoenix being clear winners. Both options are constructed similarly: something sweet, something tempura, something from the sea and some avocado. A winning flavour combo in both instances.

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[Seattle, WA] Come Sail Away with me at Sushi Kashiba

Sushi Kashiba
86 Pine St #1
Seattle, WA

Phone: (206) 441-8844
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

During the busy holiday weekends in Seattle, my advise is to make reservations if you want to insure getting a seat to dine at Sushi Kashiba. This port city is known for many things, and despite what anyone says about Pike Place Market, it’s home to many secret delights. I’ve known about this particular dining establishment for a while and keep on getting sidetracked when I discover something new. Even though I had a special fund just to dine here, it can get spent fast on other delights.

When considering Chef Kashiba trained under Jiro, a sushi master, I knew I’d be in for a treat.

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